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COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 5 | NO. 1 FLORIDA 55, KENTUCKY
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Gators' Johnson Passes Another Test in Victory

September 28, 1997|From Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Florida's Doug Johnson is letting his passing speak louder than his words.

The sophomore quarterback threw five touchdown passes, including three to Jacquez Green in the first quarter, as the No. 1 Gators took a 28-0 lead en route to a 55-28 victory over Kentucky on Saturday.

"I didn't come into the game to prove something," said Johnson, who has thrown 17 touchdown passes this season. "I just wanted to execute. I'm not trying to make a statement. The biggest statement will be what happens at the end of the year."

Johnson completed 22 of 34 passes for 286 yards before leaving after the third quarter as Florida (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) won its 24th consecutive league game and beat the Wildcats (2-2, 0-2) for the 11th consecutive time.

"We had a few drives and executed well and threw the ball downfield," Johnson said. "We have a lot of guys out there who can make the plays. They made the plays out there and I just threw it to the area."

Kentucky's Tim Couch, who was sacked four times, completed 33 of 59 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns and had three intercepted. It marked the fourth time this season that Couch has passed for more than 300 yards.

"We've come a long way," said Couch, referring to last season's 65-0 loss to the Gators. "But we still have a ways to go."

Kentucky Coach Hal Mumme said: "We tried as hard as we could but we couldn't overcome their onslaught of athleticism. I'm proud of the guys but not proud of the mistakes. We'll just try to get better."

Florida wasted little time in asserting itself defensively, as Willie Rodgers intercepted Couch's pass on the first play of the game at the Kentucky 16. The replay showed the ball bounced off the turf before landing in Rodgers' hands.

On the next play, only 22 seconds into the game, Fred Taylor raced around left end for the touchdown.

With the Florida defense dominating the Wildcats, Johnson tossed touchdown passes of five, 10 and 25 yards to Green as the Gators led, 28-0, with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Taylor rushed 14 times for 126 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and Green had 10 receptions for 139 as Florida amassed 507 total yards.

Kentucky, which entered the game ranked first in the nation in passing offense (381 yards) and fifth in total offense (480.7), finished with 470 yards. It was the most yards that Florida has given up this year.

"We didn't seem to play hard the entire game," Florida Coach Steve Spurrier said of the defensive play. "We hope to rectify that."

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